Public Bleakness in Seattle

Seattle is growing more dense, which is underlining the importance of the city's public spaces. But as this piece from <em>Crosscut</em> argues, the city's public spaces are mostly bleak and underused.
May 19, 2011, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The more the air space around us becomes stuffed with architecture, the more acutely we need the relief of thoughtfully landscaped open spaces on the ground. Arguably, these spaces are more important in the built environment than most buildings because they're public - people use them.

Or if they're emotionally cold, dreary, or austere, people don't use them, which is the case with a number of Seattle's precious open spaces. On one of our desperately rare sunny spring days this month, I visited about a dozen open spaces in the dense city and found - no surprise - the bleak ones practically unused and the beautiful ones full of life. What is surprising is that we're not demanding more graceful, humane, imaginative design - and raising hell over trends such as Seattle Parks and Rec's inexplicable new fascination with concrete and gravel."

The story includes a slideshow of nine of the city's poor public spaces, and two of its more beautiful examples.

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Published on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 in Crosscut
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